A Soapbox For A Doll Bed

The doll will literally get on her soapbox with this project. Well, maybe in the soapbox.

I found the most beautiful boxed soap not long ago at Marshall’s. The soap smelled divine and I just knew the box would be the perfect size for a doll house bed.

I only used the bottom half of the box for this. My daughter decided to use the lid of the box to make her own project. More on that later.

First I cut a strip of fabric to go about one and a half times around the bed (box). I then basted it with a large stitch so that I could gather it a bit. I then carefully glued it around the lower outside of the box to make a dust ruffle. The pink paisley print at the bottom is what was used for this step. After that I took a pretty tieback that was cut from a thrifted curtain, pressed it with the iron and cut it to fit perfectly around the box for a trim to cover the glued portion of the dust ruffle. This trim was hot glued into place as well. Two nice large buttons were glued — one on each end of the box — for decoration.

I then cut a mattress out of some red ticking I had in the scrap box. The mattress is deep and shaped like a real mattress. The top and bottom pieces of fabric were cut to fit perfectly into the box with just enough room for a seam. Then a strip as deep as the box was cut to go all the way around the box to make the “side” of the mattress. It was sewed together first by making a seam in the side strip, then sewing (right sides together) the top to the strip, then (again right sides together) the bottom piece to the side strip, leaving a small opening to turn the mattress and stuff the mattress and then sew it up by hand.

The legs on the bed are long wooden beads, hot glued into place.The last step was to make a sheet and a little downy pillow. Princess of the Universe LOVED it and was inspired to make her own bed. We’ll be posting about that later.

Lynn PS – As always, a reminder to supervise all use of glue guns and craft materials and scissors and sewing machines when working with children.

How We Made Our Doll House

First of all, I don’t have the money to buy a 200-dollar wooden doll house kit. And secondly, right now I don’t have the time to put together a kit like that. I needed a simple and inexpensive way for us to have a fun, usable doll house. The perfect thing ended up being a small wooden bookshelf like you can buy at A.C. Moore or Michaels. I realize that even these can seem expensive, but we found one of ours at the thrift store. The second one I bought new, but if you check your Sunday paper, oftentimes you’ll find really good coupons for stores like A.C. Moore and Michaels.

You can see us sitting in front of it playing. It is not fancy, but there are so many crafting hours and good memories tied up in this doll house. I believe that someday I’ll have a fancy doll house — maybe for grandchildren, or maybe for my daughter and me to work on when she’s in her teens, or grown. For now, though, this is perfect. We made a trip to a store that sells scraps from area businesses and stocked up on paper, wallpaper supplies, little carpet pieces and little pieces of wood. A thrift store offers much the same by way of old books that you can get pictures from, fabrics that can be cut up and reused, and little miscellaneous items that can be recycled into doll house furniture. Get creative!

In addition to the wooden shelves (if you want to go totally frugal) we decorated two cardboard boxes as two little “loft” rooms that sit, one atop each wooden shelf. We used glue — you can use either fabric glue or a hot glue gun (just be careful and supevise!) — to apply the fabric. The room above is nothing more than adecorated cardboard box. We have splurged from time to time and bought some wooden pieces new (remember those coupons and always look for sales). We’ve also judiciously picked out some wooden pieces at The Dollar Tree. Some of the above we made ourselves, and I’ll post individual instructions about what we all we make.

The kitchen probably holds the least homemade furniture. It is also, for now, a room that’s not fully decorated yet. As for the furniture, we lucked out and found the big stove at the thrift store for 99 cents. The table and stools against the wall were a gift. They are currently decorated for Christmas with pipe cleaners. (Remember it’s a 10-year-old girl decorating the rooms.) The pretty green table and chairs were a splurge with a coupon.

Another cardboard room (above), the bathroom, with a pretty fireplace made from a paper-towel roll. I’ll post instructions on making this later. My daughter likes for this to be the bathroom so the dolls can be warmed by the fire when they get out of the tub. The tub is a recycled soap dish from the thrift store.

One of the rooms in the wooden shelf (above). Do you see Santa hanging by the chimney? Mother is sitting by and the kids are in bed. Perhaps she is making sure they go to sleep. This room has been wall papered with wall paper scraps and glue. The windows were drawn first on drawing paper with colored pencils and then cut out and Mod-Podged into place on the walls. The same goes for the pretty fireplace. My daughter made the large bed out of a recycled metal tin.
All of the above was inexpensive and fun! It just takes time, but the memories you’ll create and the talks you’ll share make it so much better than something ready-made. Lynn PS – Disclaimer: Please just remember to always supervise the use of craft supplies, scissors, glue and glue guns, etc. And remember that small pieces represent a choking hazard for small children. Supervise. 🙂

Beautiful Baby Cradle

Not too long ago I found a sweet little baby cradle at the thrift store. There was no mattress, no veil — just a plain plastic cradle. I knew we’d fix it right up! The picture above shows you the view from the baby’s head end of the cradle. I cut this clear piece of material to fit loosely over, hemmed it, added some antique-looking ribbon trim and then put a snap closure so my daughter can close it snugly around the crib. Mosquitoes drive the dolls crazy sometimes.

When baby wakes up, the veil can easily be placed back out of the way.

The make this light, airy material hang down arond the cradle, we sewed on two pretty card decorations I had at my art desk.

The veil was placed evenly over the little post at the cradle top and hot-glued into place with just a small drop of glue. This little birdie was also hot-glued into place. The baby loves watching the little bird.

Baby, of course, sleeps in mommy and daddy’s room. They want her close by.

A New Doll House Chair

Last night I used the book that my friend Alana sent me — The Most Wonderful Dollhouse Book, to make a new chair for the doll house.

First I started with an empty baking powder can. I used a Sharpie to outline where I would cut with my sharp Xacto.

You can see how the chair will be shaped. The most tedious part comes next, and that is cutting a piece or two of fabric and smoothly hot-gluing it on so it looks upholstered.

But it turns out well! What did I use to fill the inside? I simply measured out enough stuffing to fill up the seat. I then cut a circle of fabric and laid that stuffing in the center of it. I pulled the fabric together all around it like a balloon and tied it together with a piece of string. The tied-with-string end went down into the seat first, leaving a pretty puffy pillow look on top.

Mama Doll loves her chair. I ended up covering my fabric “seam” on the chair with a ribbon I had recycled from some old PJs. It worked perfectly.

Fancy, eh? Princess of the Universe loves her new chair.

Remember to supervise the use of all crafting tools. I always do the sharp work myself and supervise my children very closely when they are working with things like this to avoid injury.